It comes as no surprise that this country located in the heart of Europe, which shares its borders with France, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxemburg, should host most European institutions in its capital city, Brussels. A constitutional monarchy since 1830, Belgium has been influenced by many diverse cultures over the course of its history, mostly by the French and Dutch, but also by the Austrian and Spanish ones. It is not surprising either that the country should have three official languages: Dutch, French and German. And that its language communities, especially the French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemish should have occasional disagreements.
Yet, it is a pleasant place to live in. Its geographical features are as beautiful as they are varied, including the magnificent Sambre and Meuse valleys, a 67km long waterfront along the North Sea, a large central plateau and the lush hills and forests of the Ardennes.
More than 1000 different beers are brewed here, Belgian chocolate competes with Switzerland’s finest and the local specialty, ”mussels & fries”, is a real delight! Belgium is a welcoming country which has established fruitful cultural and commercial ties with its neighbours. It is also the birthplace of artists who marked their time: the Flemish painting of the Renaissance is still widely admired around the world, and so is surrealism, which is said to be the “Belgian soul”. Let’s not forget cartoonist Hergé, whose “Adventures of Tintin” have enchanted children for generations. Like Tintin, explore the English language and its mysteries … in Belgium!